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Who do you become when the pressure is on?

The patient has arrived for their insert and the lab work is nowhere to be found!

The next patient’s crown preparation is about to start and all the handpieces are in the autoclave.

It’s the start of a busy day and you are short staffed. Then, one of the nurses calls in sick for the day.

There are many occasions in a dental practice when the pressure is on. The consequences of an unhappy dentist, dissatisfied patient or a chaotic day are situations to avoid.

Often, when stressful situations occur, practices implement systems to avoid these events from occurring again. However, Murphy’s Law of ‘if something can go wrong, it will’ is a reality that follows almost all of us.

Given that we cannot stop bad luck our next best effort is to choose how we respond to it.

Some of the more negative responses to pressure are:

Fear and avoidance

Helplessness and withdrawal

Anger and finger-pointing

None of these reactions are seeking solutions. They are, in fact, adding more pressure to a situation. Reacting to pressure in this way creates new and bigger problems within your practice.

The better ways to react to high-pressure situations are:

  • Regulate your emotions
  • Assess the size and potential impact of the problem
  • Discuss with those around you, welcoming suggestions to minimise negative consequences
  • Decide which solution will best meet the needs of the practice and its patients
  • Give directives to each staff member to action the solution (this will help those who do not react well to pressure to regulate their emotions by doing what is needed and expected).

Who you become when the pressure is on will either contribute to a pressurised situation becoming worse or better. Choose your reaction carefully and be the level head that finds the solutions.